Alumni Spotlight – Melissa Deane, Wedding Planner
New York-based Melissa Deane is living the American dream; working as a wedding planner and quickly becoming a rising star of the Manhattan bridal scene. The Kildare woman works for a prestigious wedding planning company, lauded by Vogue as one of the city’s leading event management firms. To date, Melissa has worked on close to 50 weddings, overseeing all aspects of the planning process from securing vendors to managing budgets. She talks to us about her memories of UCC and how she went from BComm to Big Apple!
Melissa Deane always dreamed of becoming a wedding planner - even her transition year work experience was with a wedding design company. It was clear that the determined graduate (BComm International with German) was a woman on a mission, but the path to success did not come easy. As she explains:
“After graduating I remember feeling a little lost and feeling the need to get my dream job ASAP. I quickly realised we’re not supposed to have it all figured out at the age of 23! I didn’t become a wedding planner until I was 26. Before that job I gained lots of experience in similar yet smaller roles and eventually, I got to exactly where I wanted to be.“
Proving that persistence really does pay off, Melissa moved Stateside, gaining a foothold in fashion PR and later in the couture bridal industry, before landing her current role. She credits moving from Kildare to Cork for university, as giving her the confidence to take on the challenge of a career in one of the world’s most demanding cities.
“Moving to Cork and studying in UCC really put me out of my comfort zone. I’m from Kildare and the majority of my school year went to colleges around Dublin. By moving away from home, I gained a lot of strengths and skills that I wouldn't have gained otherwise - mainly being independent and outgoing, relying less on friends, family and the comforts of home. Without my time at UCC, I don’t see myself moving to New York City like I did and being able to establish myself.”
While at UCC, Melissa took inspiration from the eclectic group of friends she met on campus.
“I had friends from a wide range of degrees, Commerce, Arts, Food Science, Engineering, Zoology and more, who were from around the country. Being surrounded by various intelligences, cultures and talents every day was inspiring!”
Melissa has “many amazing memories” of her time at UCC but confesses that one of the standouts was helping her friend win his campaign for election to the Students’ Union.
“If I had to pick a highlight that really sticks out it would be helping to spearhead a campaign team for my friend, Richard Murphy, who was running for student deputy president at the time. The campaign was truly magnificent! It was so inspiring to see everyone come together for it to work impressively hard. In the end, we pulled it off despite being the underdogs! The process was a lot of fun.”